There is perhaps no better full-body “workout” than keeping your home in order. But as you’re hauling laundry up the stairs, crawling on your hands and knees to wash the kitchen floor, twisting and bending to get your family room vacuumed, and stretching to get the very top of your tall bay windows sparkly clean, you probably take your back for granted.
That is, unless it’s causing you pain.
In that case, it is virtually impossible to take your back for granted, as with every swipe of the sponge or run of the mop, you’ll be painfully reminded of the immense role your back plays in completing household chores.
Keep in mind, though, that pain is a warning that something is seriously off balance in your body. In the case of back pain, that “something” is almost always related to your muscle balance, which we’ll explain shortly, as addressing that balance, or more specifically that imbalance, will be key to resolving and becoming free of your back pain.
But in the meantime, back pain and work should not be one and the same! Until the underlying issues causing your back pain are addressed, you may need to avoid certain household chores — or at the very least perform them differently — to avoid further stressing and damaging of your spine, discs and everything in between.
Avoid These 8 Chores if You Have Back Pain
Vacuuming is public enemy #1 to your back, primarily because of the repetitive twisting involved. If you ever have to stop and sit down mid-way through the room because you’ve sent your back into painful spasms, you know what we’re talking about.
Quick Fix: Use both hands when you vacuum to minimize the twisting motion and keep your upper and lower back more stable.
2. Mopping and Sweeping
This wouldn’t be so bad if you could do it standing straight up, but most mops are not ergonomically correct, and require you to bend varying degrees while mopping, then bend over again to squeeze the mop out. This puts an intense burden on your back, especially if you’re mopping or sweeping a large area.
Quick fix: Only use a mop or broom that has an extra long handle so you can stand as upright as possible.
Reaching over the sink to clean a pile of dishes puts a heavy strain on your back, especially since countertops are rarely the correct height (it should be belt level), ergonomically speaking. The more dishes you have to wash, the more the pain is likely to build up.
Quick fix: Prop one foot up, with your knee bent, on a stool (or open the cabinet below you and prop your foot on the ledge). This will help relieve some of the pressure on your spine.
4. Cleaning Your Tub
Bending, stretching and reaching to scrub all the corners of your bathtub will be excruciating if you have back pain, as even under the best circumstances your back was not designed for that type of work.
Quick fix: Don’t ever clean your tub by reaching in over the side. Instead, squat or sit in the tub and clean from there.
5. Trimming Tall Hedges
If it’s tall enough to require you to reach up over your head with outstretched arms, trimming it will put immense pressure on your back. Plus, you’re likely to arch your back in the process, furthering the strain and the pain. Of course, the same goes for any task that requires you to reach up high, like cleaning a fan or painting the ceiling.
Quick fix: Use a ladder to safely elevate yourself so you can trim (or paint, etc.) without overstretching.
6. Shoveling Snow
With each lift of your shovel, your back is put to the test. The heavy load will strain both your upper and lower back muscles.
Quick fix: Keep the shovel as close to your body as you can to avoid overreaching, and bend at your knees instead of at your back.
7. Raking Leaves
Similar to vacuuming and mopping, the repetitive stretching, pulling and reaching that is inherent in raking leaves will stress and strain virtually every muscle in your back.
Quick fix: Stand as upright as you can while you rake, while keeping your knees slightly bent. Rather than bending over to clean up the piles of leaves, squat down as you pick them up.
8. Making Your Bed
Reaching over to put sheets and your comforter in place may seem simple enough, but if you’ve ever attempted it with back pain you know it’s virtually impossible. The stretching and twisting required adds up to serious spinal strain.
Quick fix: Move around the bed to each corner at a time — don’t try to reach across the bed to smooth sheets.
What’s the Quick Long-Term Fix?
We’ve given you some quick-fix ideas that may make your household chores a little easier to accomplish, but your back pain will likely persist nonetheless because you haven’t addressed the underlying causes of the problem. Your pain is likely the result of muscle imbalances that developed over time. While it may seem like your pain occurred overnight, it’s more likely that poor posture, repetitive motions and chronic straining, including performing some of the household chores mentioned above incorrectly, along with sitting for long hours in front of a computer or in the car, have taken a toll on your body, leading to imbalances in various muscle groups.
Your body is then forced to work each day with this dysfunction and eventually this creates a condition, like a herniated disc for example, which causes pain. The solution starts at the foundational level by addressing your original muscle imbalances.
With the Lose the Back Pain System, you’ll go through a series of self assessments designed to help you pinpoint which physical dysfunctions you have, then you’ll receive a customized series of corrective exercises, stretches, and self-treatments that are unique to your condition. The best part about this amazing system is that you don’t have to continue wasting hundreds of dollars a month on chiropractor visits or anti-inflammatory medicines that only provide temporary relief — and you won’t have to do generic back exercises or stretches, that just aren’t effective…
With this cutting-edge system, you create your own Personalized Self Treatment Program that helps target the specific type of back pain you’re experiencing right now. You’ll often experience complete and lasting relief in 30 days or less. So what are you waiting for? Learn more now.
Written By: Updated: April 9,2012